Orginal Publication Date
MCV/Q, Medical College of Virginia Quarterly
The existence of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has been known since ancient times, but it was Cotugno who first described it in some detail in 1764. Quoting from his treatise, “In these experiments which I made on the bodies of nearly twenty adults, and which I repeated at different times, I could draw off freely from the hollow of the spine, four, or even sometimes five ounces of water: I commonly found it very clear in such subjects, though it sometimes inclined a little to a yellow color: but in fetus’ strangled in difficult labor, litte as it was, I observed it to be always red and opaque.” He also felt that the CSF was secreted by the arterial system, circulated in the subarachnoid space and was reabsorbed by the venous system. Matters remained in that state until 1891 when Quincke described a refinement in lumbar puncture using a needle with a pointed stilette in it The first extensive treatise on CSF composition was written by Mestrezat in 1912. Since then there has been very slow progress in the evaluation and interpretation of CSF even though there have been tremendous strides in the evaluation of other body fluids, particularly blood.
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